On December 15, 2010, the House of Representatives passed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, passed by the Senate the week prior. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act is a ground-breaking piece of legislation that will create the first-ever government office to coordinate research and treatment efforts targeted to Alzheimer’s disease. The Act now awaits President Obama’s signature.
Alzheimer’s disease has been drawing attention in recent months, due to an increasing awareness of the projected drastic increase in the number of people diagnosed with the disease. Both the aging population and improved diagnostics mean that more people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the coming years; in fact, the World Alzheimer Report 2010 estimates that an astonishing 65.7 million people worldwide will be living with Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2030. Presently, that figure is 35.6 million — 5.1 million people in the U.S. alone.
The rapidly growing number of people affected by the disease, which is multiplied when accounting for family members and friends whose lives are impacted when a loved one suffers from dementia, contributes to skyrocketing costs of caring for the millions of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The National Alzheimer’s Project will promote awareness, coordinate funding and other efforts related to finding a cure, researching more effective treatments, and caring for and supporting individuals and their families presently affected by the disease.
In a statement, Eric J. Hall, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, says, “We hope that the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act marks a turning point in our nation’s attention to and funding for this disease. The challenges that lie ahead are enormous and only by coming together can we make progress toward care and cure.”
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